This issue of CHEVY HIGH PERFORMANCE may be labeled the "Paint and Body Issue"--but it's really the Body and Paint issue! Let's think about this for a moment: Has anyone else ever wondered why we say "Paint and Body," especially when the bodywork has to be done first? It's certainly one of those things that makes you go hmmm. Anyhow, when we last left the body in November, it was straight and ready for the metalwork and paint. Due to issue content, we decided to save the remaining juicy details for this month's special.
A typical car magazine cover blurb reads: "Paint your own car! Save millions of $$$$!" As we eagerly tear into the magazine and start reading, we notice there are usually quite a few caveats about all those "millions of $$$$" you will save, mainly that modern paints can be extremely hazardous to your health, you need a paint booth (or reasonable facsimile), and it will take millions of hours!
After carefully reading the articles and making an honest assessment of personal skill, it becomes intuitively obvious even to the most casual observer that while many of us can paint our project cars with some degree of skill, it is perhaps smarter to turn the job over to the professionals. In our case, we turned to local custom body and paint shop owners Jimmy and Heather Smith at Street Customs in Mooresville, North Carolina.
Jimmy and Heather graciously allowed me to assist in the body preparation, which is actually one place we all can save big dollars on labor costs by ensuring every piece of trim is removed from the body. Another pocket-friendly hint is to ask the body shop owner what you can physically do to help. Believe me, if you pitch in and sand, and sand, and sand some more, you'll more than likely develop a great appreciation of the hours of hand prep and huge amount of dollars just for supplies such as sandpaper, sanding blocks, masking tape (several widths), scuff pads, and build primer required to produce a custom paint job that will impress you and your friends.